Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Fails to Land on Moon's Surface

Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Fails to Land on Moon's Surface

"There is a suspicion that we did not land on the moon in the best fashion".

"We reached the moon, but we wanted to land more safely". Google ended the contest in 2018 with no winners, but the Israeli team made a decision to continue its efforts privately.

The head of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, said he regretted the mission didn't succeed, but "I have no doubt that Israel and SpaceIL will continue to explore and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements".

Meanwhile, President Reuven Rivlin soothed the children who were invited to his residence to hopefully watch a successful landing. "They will be the recipients of our first ever $1M Moonshot Award, in honor of their achievements and their milestone as the first privately-funded entity to orbit the Moon". "And we really are making this dream come true". Right before the unmanned aircraft attempted to land, the main engine experienced problems and there was a communications failure.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on hand for what organisers had hoped to be a celebration, was pragmatic about the disappointing end to the mission.

"We will try again", Netanyahu said.

The spacecraft will take photos of the landing site to prove a successful landing, adding to its collection of stunning images and videos from its journey. But it wasn't the first time that a robotic moon landing failed in this way.

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Only Russia, the USA and China have made the 384,000-kilometre journey and landed safely. The Israeli Aerospace Industry's space division and SpaceIL, the non-profit that sent the craft into space, are now indicating they presume it to be damaged beyond further function.

NASA, for example, spent about US$469 million in the 1960s on seven similarly sized Surveyor lunar landers. "I knew it would give us in Israel a sense of pride".

That competition was the Google Lunar XPrize, which started in September 2007.

"We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully", said Opher Doron, the general manager of Israel Aerospace Industries' space division.

Surveyor 3 successfully landed in 1967; that same year, communication was lost with Surveyor 4 just 2.5 minutes before touchdown on the lunar surface, and NASA concluded the spacecraft may have exploded. First, gyroscopes in the control system malfunctioned, sending the uncrewed spacecraft spinning around its main axis. China made history in January with its Chang'e 4, the first craft to touch down on the dark side of the moon.

According to a report from Space.com, the team never intended Beresheet to be a science craft, but instead its mission involved "advancing Israel's space program, increasing the nation's technological knowhow and getting young people more interested in science, technology, engineering and math".

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